So United get their pre-season schedule underway tonight (and I mean very late in the night if you're not in America) against Celtic.

Celtic are preparing for their Europa League qualifiers coming up so for them, this is a 'no-joke' fixture. Opposition such as United is just about the best yardstick against which they can weigh their readiness.

Sir Alex has with him a 22 man squad to pick from but given the absence of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, there is wide expectation that Chris Smalling will make his debut for the club. It's a chance for Reds fans to get a glimpse of him in action. It will also be an opportunity for fans to see ho the players look out there on pitch in that recently unveiled sorry kit.

The pitch however, according to what I've just seen on Skysportsnews, is dangerous. It's only been 24 hours since it was laid and there is solid concrete beneath it. So above all, I'll be praying that none of our players comes away with nasty injuries that we could rue for the remainder of the season year.

Sir Alex has come out to say that he's put his faith in youth for the coming season and for the future. Well it did work in the 1995/96 season when 'the kids' won the league off Blackburn but given the demand for success and the level of competition these days, I don't know. I'm an observer on this one, but if he does pull it off, then I will safely say that Manchester United will be in a minor crisis when the old Gaffer calls it a day and signs out.

For this pre-season therefore, a lot of my focus will be on how the likes of Darren Gibson, Kiko Macheda, The Da Silva brothers, etc...will be staking a claim for regular first team football next season.